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redhen4's avatar

How do I stop being intimidated without spending $60/hour?

Asked by redhen4 (520points) December 20th, 2011

I am a 54 year old female. After years of “therapy” and psych meds for Bipolar 1, I still get intimidated and flustered and cannot quite function at the task at hand. Doesn’t matter, either male or female. If I feel the slightest bit that I am being bullied, I shrink.

It is like I have no “something” but don’t know what or how to fix it.

Therapy has helped my self esteem, but apparently not enough.

Please help!

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9 Answers

judochop's avatar

Have you thought about a kickboxing class or boxing class? Maybe spend $60 a month on TKD lessons or Judo lessons. You can also invest in Yoga and Tai Chi, both are good for helping you center. Best of luck conquering your intimidation.

tedd's avatar

I can give you the core advice, but I doubt it will change anything if years of therapy couldn’t.

Basically.. what have you got to lose? Ok something is going wrong, or a situation is intimidating.. maybe a person is intimidating…. But who the hell cares? Everyone involved will be dead and rotting within 100 years.. and in the grand scheme of things the crisis at your job doesn’t matter for 2 craps.

When you accept the overall reality that the majority of what you do has no major impact, and you will survive regardless of how things play out… it becomes a lot easier to focus on the task at hand rather than get flustered or intimidated.

But again, if years of therapy couldn’t get that acrossed to you… I’m doubting my 2 paragraphs did.

marinelife's avatar

Have you tried imagining the bully naked or helpless?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I agree with @tedd , there probably isn’t anything we can say that would help you develop a backbone if therapy failed. All of us spend our whole lives developing our personalities and learning from trial and error what works and what doesn’t work. Somewhere along the line, your personal growth got hindered. Maybe you know why and maybe not. Whatever the reason, you need to force yourself to stand up to your perceived bullies. Maybe it won’t go well the first time, but practice makes perfect.

jca's avatar

Sometimes when I was younger I would become intimidated by something or a situation, and be mad at myself afterwards. What I do now is think about the situation before reacting, and give myself a minute or two to consider what I would like the outcome to be, and then advocate for myself. If that does not work, I ask for someone higher up (for example in a customer service situation) or sometimes I write a letter to someone even higher up in order to achieve the result (or to try to achieve the results) I would like.

I would feel better able to give you advice if you explained in more details what the situation or person is that you feel intimidated by.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am going to suggest something that may seem counter-intuitive. When faced with a bully, try to develop compassion toward the person. The problem is not with you. It is with the bully. If you take that perspective, it will be easier to maintain your composure.

wundayatta's avatar

The bad news is that there is no quick fix. The good news is that you probably don’t want a quick fix.

What worked for me is what you have just started. Reach out to people online. Join a community. Speak your mind. Earn people’s respect with what you say.

It took me about three years. For long time I didn’t really think it was real. I thought people were being nice to me because, well, I was pathetic. Yeah. That’s what I believed. I thought people had nothing better to do with their time than to give me compliments or feedback they didn’t really believe.

But after a few years, I finally started to think that people won’t spend that much time saying nice things to you if they don’t really mean them. I mean, they just don’t think of others all that much unless they notice them for some reason.

Once you start to experience people paying attention to what you say and thanking your for your words, it slowly builds. At first you might not believe it, but after a while, when it keeps on happening, you might start to wonder if maybe they are telling the truth. Maybe the things you say really are worthwhile for other people. Maybe you do have something decent to offer others. Something that actually helps them—at least some of the time.

It’s always going to be a struggle, no matter how successful you might be. The doubts always come back. You have to keep proving to yourself the you offer something that others appreciate. But it does build, over time. You start to believe it, and that makes you freer in expressing yourself, because you come to expect people to appreciate you.

You have an additional strike against you in that you are female. Women in our culture are taught to be self-effacing and to see themselves as less powerful and less deserving of power. You have to consciously fight that. You must always observe your behavior, and when you think you are not giving yourself a fair chance because of your own prejudice against women, you have to question yourself.

People can use mental illness against themselves, too. Being ill can make it harder for you to take yourself seriously. You have to wonder if maybe your idea that you are valuable is just craziness. Personally, I think us crazies are better off. We can think weird stuff that a lot of other people won’t think, and I believe that gives us an advantage. Also, being crazy, as long as you aren’t depressed, is a lot more fun. Crazy people are seriously… well… crazy! I love it! It kind of explains why my thinking didn’t tend to follow everyone else’s most of my life.

It’s work, my dear. But think of it as “crazy pride!” Be proud of being bipolar. Not that being bipolar is something to be proud of, but that you need to be proud of what you are. Because the alternative is to hate on yourself, and you know where that gets you.

And I’m sure you’ve heard this: supposedly bipolar people are smarter and more creative than the average schmoe. I remain agnostic on this until I see more evidence, but even so, it’s kind of cool to think that you have a brain condition that is associated with high intelligence and creativity. Let this be your excuse to stop holding back. Just go out and be intelligent and creative. Be who you are. Be proud of it.

By the way—this advice is generic for any condition anyone might have that they feel ashamed of. Being ashamed doesn’t really help anyone, unless you are ashamed of something that hurts others, in which case it helps you stop the bad behavior. But being gay or mentally ill or creative or many other things doesn’t hurt anyone. They are just reasons for others to stigmatize you.

You can’t help who you are, so you might as well be proud of it. You might as well mine your problem for its gifts and make something good out of it. Being proud helps you do that, whatever it it. Rebuild your sense of self, and you can feel confident and do better with people.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@wundayatta Very well written! And I especially agree that it’s work – not just for someone with a diagnosed personality problem, but for all of us. As a matter of fact, it is a life-long work in progress. Probably just about the time you have developed into the person you want to be, you die from old age. Ha-ha.

O_o's avatar

Try to read about NLP. There is a book called “The Big Book of NLP”, and it has a lot of practical steps you can do. Good luck!

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